Fun factual information on New Caledonia

General Information on New Caledonia & Quick Overview

In the early 1800’s New Caledonia was settled by both French and British settlers.

It became a French territory in 1853, and served as a convict colony for forty years from 1864.

Geographical Information & statistics on New Caledonia

Geographical Position: South Pacific Ocean, north-west of New Zealand, east of Australia. Map Ref Latitude & Longitude 21 degrees 00 Sotuh, 165 degrees 00 East

Total Land & Sea Area Total: 19,000 square kilometres Sea Area 450 square kilometres land area: 18,550 square kilometres Land boundaries: 0 kilometres Coastal Length: 2,500 kilometres

Climatological Conditions & information on New Caledonia

Hot, humid climate; modified by southeast trade winds; cool, winters.

Terrain Features

Coastal plains with rugged interior mountains, and surrounded by large areas of coral reef. Highest & Lowest Elevations: Lowest elevation: Pacific Ocean at sea level Highest elevation: Mont Panie 1,630 metres Country’s natural resources: nickel deposits, chrome, iron-ore, cobalt, manganese deposits, silver, gold deposits, lead deposits, copper deposits

Land use

ploughable land area: 0.4 percent permanent crops: 0.3 percent other: 99 percent (1998 estimate) Irrigated land area: 150 square kilometres (1991) Hazardous Natural phenomena: Tropical Cyclones, most susceptible from the month of November to the month of March.

Geographical Point of Interest

A main island of New Caledonia, which is one of the biggest islands in the Pacific Ocean, the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands to the north (Iles Loyaute), and other small, islands.

People-Information on New Caledonia

Population: 210,000 (July 2003 estimate)

Age structure: under 15 years: 29 percent 15 to 64 years: 64 percent Over 65: 6 percent Median age of population: Total: 27 years male: 27 years female: 27 years (2002) Population growth rate: 1.4 percent (2003 estimate) Birth rate: 19 births per thousand population (2003 estimate) mortality rate: 6 deaths per thousand population (2003 estimate) Net rate of migration: 0 migrant(s) per thousand population (2003 estimate) Infant mortality rate: Total: 8 deaths per thousand live births female: 7 deaths per thousand live births (2003 estimate) male: 9 deaths per thousand live births Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73 years male: 70 years female: 76 years (2003 estimate) Total fertility rate: 2 children born/woman (2003 estimate)


New Caledonian. Locals French descendants call themselves ‘Caldoche’.

Ethnic groups

Melanesian Kanak 42 percent, European descent 37 percent, Wallis 8 percent, Indonesian 3 percent, Polynesian 3 percent, Vietnamese 1 percent, other 6 percent


Roman Catholic 63 percent, Protestant 32 percent, other 5 percent

Languages & Linguistic Groupings

French, 35 Kanaké dialects Literacy: definition: People over the age of 15 years that are literate (can read & write): total population: 90 percent male: 90 percent female: 90 percent (1976 estimate)

Government information on New Caledonia

Country name: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies

Dependency status: Overseas territory of France since 1956 Government type: Territory Capital city: Noumea

Independence: none (overseas territory of France); National holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July Constitution: 1958 French Constitution Legal system: Matignon Accords of 1988 gave considerable autonomy to New Caledonia; formerly under French law.

Electoral & Voting System

Universal vote from the age of 18. Executive branch: Head of State: President
Chief of Government:President of the Government
Cabinet: Consultative Committee

Legislative branch: Unicameral Congrés Territorial

Economy information on New Caledonia

Economy - overview: New Caledonia is one huge nickel deposit containing about a quarter of the world's known nickel resources. In addition, the nickel is easily accessible.

A small proportion of the land is suitable for planting or cropping, and food accounts for 20 percent of imports. As well as nickel, France gives it substantial financial support – equivalent to over one quarter of Gross Domestic Product.

A growing tourist industry is contributing to the economy.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

$USD5 billion (2002 estimate) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - per head of population: $USD15,000 (2002 estimate) Gross Domestic Product - composition by sector: agriculture: 7 percent industry: 29 percent services: 66 percent (1997 estimate)

Rate of inflation: -0.5 percent (2000 estimate) Labour force: 79,000 Labour force - by occupation: agriculture 8 percent, industry 25 percent, services 67 percent (1999 estimate) Rate of unemployment: 20 percent (1996)

Budget information on New Caledonia

Incomes: $USD861 million spending : $USD735 million, Industries: nickel mining and smelting

Agriculture - products: vegetables; livestock, beef, deer, other livestock products


$USD500 million. (2000) Exports - commodities: Nickel, Ferronickels, nickel ore, fish products Exports - partners: Japan 20 percent, France 20 percent, Taiwan 16 percent, South Africa 11 percent, Spain 8 percent, South Korea 5 percent, Australia 5 percent, Italy 5 percent (2002)


$USD2 billion . (2000) Imports - commodities: chemicals, heavy machinery and mining equipment, fuel, processed foodstuffs. Imports -most important trading partners: France 52 percent, Australia 12 percent, Singapore 10 percent (2002)

Foreign Indebtedness

$USD80 million (1998 estimate)

Communications information on New Caledonia

Telephones landlines: 50,000 (1997)

Radio broadcast stations: Amplitude Modulation 2, Frequency Modulation 4, shortwave 1 (1998) Television broadcast stations: 5

Internet country code: .nc

Transportation in & travel information on New Caledonia

Railroad networks: 5 kilometres Roading System: Total: 5,000 kilometres Airports & airfields: 35 (2002)

Military information on New Caledonia

Military branches: French Armed Forces (including French Army, French Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie); Police Force Military spending : $USD192 million (Fiscal Year96) Military spending : percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 5 percent (Fiscal Year96)
Military - note: Defence and military matters are the controlled by the Republic of France

International Issues New Caledonia Disputes - international: Matthew and Hunter Islands are claimed by both Vanuatu and France.

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More information on New Caledonia, a French-speaking nation
History of French speaking countries | Flag of New Caledonia | Map of New Caledonia | Learn French in New Caledonia |
Information on New Caledonia
Source: All info sourced and adapted from CIA Factbook
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